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Communication with Azerbaijan's satellite was lost

20 April 2023 21:20 (UTC+04:00)
Communication with Azerbaijan's satellite was lost
Qabil Ashirov
Qabil Ashirov
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The exchange of information with the Azersky satellite has stopped, Azernews reports, citing The Ministry of Digital Development and Transport (MDDT).

MDDT told that despite Azercosmos and the manufacturer of the satellite taking measures to restore the connection with the Azersky satellite, it was not possible to establish a connection with the satellite.

According to the cooperation agreement signed by Azercosmos with Airbus Defense and Space in 2014, the Azersky satellite operated in the same orbit as the SPOT 6 satellite of Airbus Defense and Space in the form of a single satellite cluster. According to the agreement signed on favorable terms, even without the Azersky satellite, Azercosmos will be able to meet the needs of local and foreign customers from the high optical resolution satellite images obtained through the SPOT 6 satellite. At present, the execution of orders related to satellite images using the SPOT 6 satellite continues with the same quality. Also, Azercosmos is able to satisfy the needs of local institutions for higher resolution satellite images on preferential terms within the framework of favorable cooperation established with foreign satellite operators in the past years.

Azersky satellite has proven itself as a commercial project, in addition to meeting the domestic demand in the field of earth observation and geo-information services in general, providing support for ensuring national security, creating a scientific research and personnel base in the space field in Azerbaijan, and improving the international image. A total of AZN105m ($61.8m) have been earned since the beginning of the commercial operation of the Azersky satellite. In addition, satellite images worth AZN150m ($88m) were given to various state bodies and institutions. Thus, the economic benefit from the satellite was 1.5 times more than the investment.

According to the information received from the US Space Surveillance Network, the Azersky satellite continues to fly in its intended orbit. At present, a collision with small-sized space debris or meteorite is considered a possible reason for the termination of data exchange with the satellite. So, as a result of the collision, the satellite's power supply may have failed. The US Space Observatory currently monitors 36,500 objects in space larger than 10 centimeters. However, according to calculations, more than 1 million objects of small size (1-10 cm) are moving around our planet, which the Space Observation Network cannot track.

It should be noted that at the beginning of this year the BADR-6 satellites of Saudi Arabia's Arabsat company and the FM36 of Orbcomm company of the USA, in 2021 the Chinese Yunhai 1-02 satellite, in 2019 more than 50 satellites including Intelsat's Intelsat-29e satellite, as well as the satellites of Russia and Turkiye completed their missions earlier than the intended operational periods. Therefore, space property insurance is of great importance for risk management in space activities. Azersky satellite is insured in the amount of AZN45m ($26.5m), and work has already begun to collect the insurance amount.

While in orbit, more than 80,000 satellite images were downloaded from the Azersky satellite in a volume of half a petabyte. A large archive of satellite images has been formed in Azercosmos, which has an invaluable role in the analysis and forecasting of changes occurring on Earth, including scientific research. The terrestrial infrastructure and antenna systems installed in Azerbaijan within the framework of the Azersky project will be useful both in terms of use in the next satellite projects and in terms of meeting the antenna needs of various foreign satellite operators on commercial terms.

Within the framework of the first Azersky satellite project, professional specialists in the management of remote Earth observation satellites were trained in Azerbaijan, and the acquired knowledge and experience paved the way for the development and launch of new observation satellites. Azercosmos has started a new, higher-resolution observation satellite project since last year, which responds to the challenges of modern technological development in accordance with the wishes of local institutions.

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